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Leslie Smith died on Liverpool Care Pathway after wrong diagnosis
JACKIE Leotardi and her family believe they have good reason to question the use of the Liverpool Care Pathway.
Jackie’s father Leslie Smith was put on the LCP after his family were told he was suffering from an inoperable abdominal perforation, and that putting him on the pathway was the most compassionate thing to do.
Two hours after he was put on the LCP, Mr Smith died. However, a post-mortem subsequently revealed he was not suffering from the perforation – and that has led his family to question the use of the LCP process.
Mr Smith was admitted to Basingstoke hospital on Friday, June 15 last year with a bladder infection. His condition quickly deteriorated and he began finding breathing difficult. His stomach was distended and he appeared to be in pain.
He was unable to swallow because of complications due to the infection and medics were reluctant to feed him via a feeding tube in the absence of a firm diagnosis.
Jackie, 51, said she and her husband Massimo, 56, a mechanical design engineer, had “begged” the medical staff to carry out a CT scan over the weekend but one was never carried out.
By Monday, June 18, Mr Smith’s condition had worsened. Doctors told Jackie they suspected her father, a former chemical plant manager, could have a perforation in his stomach.
Two x-rays convinced them of their diagnosis, and on the morning of Tuesday, June 19, they broke the news that his condition was inoperable and terminal. Jackie and her husband were then told that putting Mr Smith on the LCP was the most humane course of action.
Jackie, of Hatch Lane, Old Basing, said: “They said they were sure there was nothing that could be done for him. We believed them.”
The couple and their 18-year-old daughter Lily were able to say their final goodbyes before Mr Smith passed away shortly after noon on June 19.
But the devastated family’s grief turned to anger when a post-mortem examination revealed no sign of an abdominal perforation. The coroner’s report revealed Mr Smith had died of a blood clot on the lung and respiratory failure.
The family believe that if a CT scan had been carried out, the blood clot may have been detected and the suspected perforation in his stomach may have been ruled out.
Jackie said: “He could have survived – he might have survived.”
Jackie added: “The Liverpool Care Pathway isn’t a bad thing but we feel the way it is used is frightening and doctors do get things wrong. If it wasn’t for the post-mortem, we would never have found out the truth.”